There is a lot of misinformation floating about related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is a threat to countries across the world. Here are some resources and suggestions for your consideration:
There are countries around the world and states in the US where the concentration of the disease is higher. Alabama is not currently among them but that could change as we move forward. The IMB of the SBC has issued a statement discouraging international short-term mission trips until further notice. The State Board of Missions has also released a statement regarding Summer Missions involvement for our Baptist Campus Ministries students related to international travel. The statement reads as follows: Due to the ongoing concern about the coronavirus, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions recommends that Alabama Baptists follow the guidance of the International Mission Board as they consider mission opportunities. Based upon the current situation, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions has determined that the better part of wisdom is not to endorse any international mission trips by students and others, until further notice. The focus of the student summer missions will be upon the partnership projects we have in North America (the United States and Canada). An intentional focus will be on serving in Alabama and the rest of the southern part of the United States.
- There are some excellent resources available that are updated as situations change – daily or hourly.
- The task force led by Vice-President Mike Pence is made up of leading health professionals across the US. They give daily briefings of new developments related to new cases and the advancement of the testing done to determine if someone has become infected.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has excellent material on its website related to COVID-19. I visit it daily to read about their most recent findings and conclusions.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) also is a solid resource. They take a more global approach but also are a great source of information. Their website offers significant materials related to the disease.
- Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has appointed a Task Force to help give guidance in preparing for when COVID-19 appears in Alabama.
- The National Task Force, CDC, WHO, and the Alabama Task Force are all offering good information that we can heed and apply:
- The segment of the population most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and face the most difficulty in recovering once diagnosed are senior adults (60 and above) with underlying health conditions. These individuals should certainly follow the counsel of groups mentioned above but these suggestions apply to everyone:
- Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds regularly or use a quality hand sanitizer made us of at least 60% alcohol. Due to the rush to purchase hand sanitizer, some stores are out of stock or place quantity limits on the purchase.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you or someone you care for is in the high-risk group, this especially applies.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- Cover coughs and sneezes using the inside of your elbow or by using tissues or handkerchiefs. Dispose of tissues properly. Immediately wash your hands.
- Sick people need facemasks and they should be worn when around other people. But remember that a facemask cannot keep a disease like the flu or COVID-19 from spreading. Caregivers need facemasks. People who are well don’t need facemasks.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly – phones, counters, desks, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc. The CDC suggests a solution of 5 tablespoons of household bleach mixed with one gallon of water (4 teaspoons per quart of water) or a solution made of 70% alcohol.
This is not a time for panic. It is a time to follow common-sense advice from Task Force and CDC professionals. Just be smart. Use good judgment and practice good cleanliness skills. COVID-19 and the flu will pass. Let’s do what we can to stay healthy. If you get sick, listen to your healthcare professional and stay home until you are no longer a threat for passing your illness to others. The SBOM will certainly follow the counsel of our national task force and the CDC in doing our part to limit the impact of the flu and COVID-19. Each of us bears responsibility in doing that as well.